Retail leaders look ahead to 2021

By Lottie Watts
Published Dec 3, 2020

What retail changes from the pandemic are here to stay? Alumni of “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future” share what excites them about the coming year.

Increased online sales

Chieh Huang, the CEO of direct delivery wholesaler, predicts the surge in online traffic will continue in 2021.

“For folks that didn’t buy that much online before, the new habit for them is to buy online,” Huang says. “The question shouldn’t be if they’re going to go back. It should be, ‘are they going to migrate to offline?’”

Continued innovation

Oliver Chen, a managing director and senior equity research analyst for Cowen and Company, says he’s excited about curbside pick-up becoming more of major channel for large retailers. He also predicts live online events will be a “major trend” next year.

“It’s a new channel and another way to do business, livestreaming shows and integrating commerce into livestreams,” Chen says.

Greater transparency

Demand for transparency will increase, according to Amanda Curtis, the co-founder and CEO of Nineteenth Amendment and N.A.bld, online platforms that connect designers to sell directly to consumers.  

“I just don’t think that brands can hide behind supply chains,” Curtis says. “I think that the consumer is going to want access to information. A huge trend in 2021 is accountability, so I’m excited to see what the consumer wants, and how brands respond.”

Hear more from these retail leaders about what they’re looking forward to in 2021 in the full video above.  

“The List” is made possible by American Express and is part of our free, virtual NRF Foundation All Access program helping support students as they prepare to launch careers in retail.

Check out the full-time job and internships featured on our job listings page. And If you missed any of the NRF Foundation All Access fall sessions, you can find them on our on-demand page.

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